The Yankees finished off their sixth sweep of a doubleheader this season as CC Sabathia and Domingo German piggybacked their way to a 6-4 win in Detroit. Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela went deep while DJ LeMahieu went 3-for-5 (Box Score). However, Gary Sanchez left early with left groin tightness.
Here are the takeaways from Game 1 with Edwin Encarnacion’s injury and below are some takeaways for Game 2:
1. Really? Another injury?
Gary Sanchez tried to steal a base in the third inning — Did he misread a sign or was Spencer Turnbull not paying attention to him? — and he was thrown out.
An inning later, Kyle Higashioka replaced him behind the plate. Sanchez might have grimaced slightly after getting caught stealing (I can’t read faces very well) and had run out the ball before to get to first, but little indicated he was hurt.
The team announced he left with left groin tightness. Again, like with Encarnacion’s injury in Game 1, there are 22 days left until ALDS Game 1. There isn’t much time to get right.
But the fact that it’s called tightness and not a strain in the initial wording is a good sign, right? This isn’t Sanchez’s first left groin injury and the team will certainly be cautious. He probably shouldn’t play in Toronto and maybe not even against the Angels next week.
If this really isn’t a strain, give him a week or so to rest and be back. Romine and Higashioka can carry the load until then.
2. The Piggybacking worked!
Look, the Yankees were facing Detroit and its sub-par offense, so take the results lightly. But CC Sabthia and Domingo German combined for seven innings and two runs allowed in what could be a precursor to the postseason.
Sabathia has struggled past the first time through a lineup this season, as has German, and a piggybacking game could lessen the load on both and not allow them to be overexposed to a top lineup.
Sabathia, who missed two weeks with his latest knee flareup, looked more or less like himself until he was pulled a few batters too late. He gave up just one hit, struck out four and got a bunch of weak grounders in his first three innings.
However, in the fourth inning, CC walked the lead off hitter. He allowed a weak single after a strikeout before a line-drive double ended his night. In all, the Tigers didn’t know what to do with his pitches, whiffing 10 times and averaging 77.7 mph exit velocity. That’s an elite number, albeit in just nine balls in play.
German picked him up after coming into the jam. He got two quick outs and retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. He didn’t have elevated velocity, knowing he was going to go a while.
He, too, lost steam and put two guys on in the eighth, but Tommy Kahnle got a line-drive double play to escape the jam. In all, he tossed four innings, gave up two hits, a HBP and struck out five. However, he allowed some hard hit balls and is still searching for his early-season form.
3. The offense keeps chugging
DJ LeMahieu shrugged off his recent slump and picked up three hits, leading off the game with a single. A batter later, the Yankees led 2-0 on an Aaron Judge homer.
This looked like a normal fly out in the misty night, but hey, it counts for Judge’s 22nd of the season.
The next inning, LeMahieu doubled in Mike Ford to extend the lead to 3-0. For the third time in three games, the Bombers gave their starter an early lead for their starters and they didn’t squander in the doubleheader.
The Bombers were held off the board until the fifth, when Tyler Wade got a leadoff double. They wouldn’t have scored, but Didi Gregorius blooped a ball to left field and Brandon Dixon played it into a triple. It was ruled a single and a two-base error, but it should have been caught.
Finally, in the ninth inning, Luke Voit led off with a single and Gio Urshela pinch hit for Mike Ford and blasted an insurance homer that came in handy. chef’s kiss
That’s 20 on the season for Urshela, giving the Yankees seven players with 20 home runs this season. Didi is just four away.
4. Bullpen holds on
Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman finished this one off. Kahnle, as mentioned above, gave up a line drive that probably should have been an RBI single, but it was right at Gleyber Torres, turning into a double play. That finished the eighth.
With a 6-2 lead, Kahnle got a chance to finish the game, but he couldn’t do it. He issued a one-out walk and a triple, and Aaron Boone pulled him for Chapman. This was his first game since sitting out with wrist tendonitis, so he’s more than allowed the hiccup.
Chapman hadn’t pitched since Saturday and looked rusty with a first pitch ball. First baseman John Hicks got a single on what was nearly an amazing play from his backside from Urshela, yet LeMahieu couldn’t come up with the ball.
Chapman recovered easily, striking out Travis Demeritte before inducing a grounder. On the strikeout, he topped 101 mph with his fastball early in the at-bat before fanning him on the slider.
- Aaron Judge made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch in the fourth inning to save a run but crashed into the wall to do so. He looked in pain afterward, but he played the rest of the game and seemed fine? You never know with the 2019 Yankees.
- LeMahieu boosted his batting average back to .325, going 3-for-11 overall in the doubleheader. Wade went 2-for-3 with a walk and run while everyone had at least one hit except Sanchez (walk), Higashioka and Gardner. Gardy struck out in all four plate appearances.
- Sabathia surpassed John Smoltz for 16th all-time with a second-inning strikeout.
- Going into Rays-Rangers and Astros-A’s tonight, the Yankees’ magic number to win the division is 6 and clinch homefield advantage is 14.
The Yankees head north to play the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre in a three-game set starting Friday. It’ll be Masahiro Tanaka (10-8, 4.53 ERA) agains rookie lefty Anthony Kay (0-0, 3.18) at 7:07 p.m. on YES and WFAN.